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Spain's influence on local Santa Barbara architects, designers and the Spanish style homes and landscapes they design


Spanish Revival style fountain at Casa del Herrero estate Montecito, California


Santa Barbara Spanish style architecture has become well-known throughout the world. Each generation of architects and designers have a handful that have the interest and passion for carrying on with the traditions that began a 100 years ago...


when George Washington Smith moved to Montecito and serendipitously helped found the California Movement in Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.


On this page, I share some favorite photos I have shot here in Santa Barbara and Montecito, as well as in various towns and cities in Spain.

Here, a beautiful Spain-inspired fountain at Casa del Herrero, a historic esatet in in Montecito, California- open to the public.





close up of historic red brick with decorative Spanish tiles embedded in this historic public plaza in Seville, Spain.




For hundreds of years, the well traveled Spanish plazas have been the inspiration for designers and architects the world over.


The rich textures, colors and brick patterns are "timeless", classic combinations.






historic hexagon shaped fountain in a public plaza in Seville, Spain



LEFT: A classic fountain I came across while strolling through an old public square in Seville, Spain.









a historic Spanish style fountain in a brick courtyard at Casa del Herrero in Montecito, California - photo framed by a thick plaster archway




Locally (in the 1920s and 30s), George Washington Smith had an ability to recognize these classic Spanish patterns and finishes, and was then able to artistically design them in to his projects.

His Architectural Design Services grew quickly thereafter, as locals were intrigued with what he was creating.


Clients would commission him to design special homes with character, as they too wanted to bring these authentic materials and design details into their own projects.


Here, an East Courtyard at Casa Del Herrero, designed by George Washington Smith and George F. Steedman







A historic black wrought iron window grille with cross and black and white decorative tile shelf.  A photo taken on a historic street in Seville, Spain near the Royal Alcazar Palace



Most of the homes George Washington Smith designed in the Andalusian vernacular have become well known and cherished by the Santa Barbara and Montecito California communities.

His trips to Spain must have given him inspiration for the projects he was commissioned to design here.

I shot this photo of a simple wrought iron window grille on a beautiful quintessential historical street in Seville, Spain... just a block or two from Royal Alcazar Palace.

A window grille with simplistic details makes for an attractive composition on new homes being designed in the classic style.









The iron gate entrance to the George Washington Smith architect designed Meridian Studios located in Santa Barbara California



George Washington Smith had the ability to see, design and create beautiful new compositions using these Old World, authentic materials and resources from Spain.


It secured his legacy as the founder and early leader in reshaping Santa Barbara's architectural look and feel in to the "Spanish Style" we all know and love today.


LEFT: The charming, gated entrance to the George Washington Smith designed Meridian Studios.








a girl with a backpack walks past the historic walls, columns and wrought iron fence details outside Catedral de Sevilla in Seville, Spain


When I shot this photo in the historic streets of Seville, Spain- I paused to wonder if perhaps George Washington Smith might have walked the same street, noticing and admiring this ancient detail.

Catedral de Sevilla- is a cathedral that was built over 500 years ago.

The columns and architectural details remind me of those at Meridian Studios, here in Santa Barbara, California (ABOVE).






Spain's influence on Santa Barbara, California architecture



Spanish Revival style iron balcony with decorative tile installed underneath iron deck.  Photo taken in the Barri Gotic district in old part of Barcelona, Spain


While I continued to walk and shoot photos in the quaint villages and towns of historic Spain...


I instantly began to appreciate the romantic and authentic architectural design elements that probably catch the eye of many artistic designers, homeowners, architects and artisans.


LEFT: I captured this shot on a famously quaint, narrow alley in the Barri Gotic district (Gothic Quarter, Old Historic Town Barcelona, Spain).


Could GW Smith and George F. Steedman have stumbled upon this same dragon detail almost a hundred years ago?






George F. Steedman designed and made this wrought iron flying dragon with shield for his Casa del Herrero estate in Montecito, California




LEFT: If you tour Casa del Herrero "House of the Blacksmith" in Montecito, California...


check out this iron dragon detail that is mounted on the East wall of the house, above an arched alcove with fountain.








Spanish tiled wall fountain with basin, terra cotta pots with pink geraniums and courtyard at Casa del Herrero estate in Montecito, California


While spending quality time at the Architecture and Design Collection (at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara), I learned that George Washington Smith and his client George F. Steedman had traveled Spain together, studying the architectural details there...


Perusing the endless historic photos there in the UCSB collection, it looked like a fascinating trip. I would have given anything to have traveled with them and to listen in on their planning ideas.



This is another shot of the iron dragon George F. Steedman created in his own foundry and shop at Casa del Herrero.








George F. Steedman and George Washington Smith designed garage at Casa del Herrero, Montecito California showcases authentic antique Spanish tiles from Spain, and Spanish Revival wood arch top door



If you get a chance to tour Casa del Herrero in Montecito...

make sure to check out the garage, as well. It is just wide enough to house a Model T car.


George Washington Smith and George F. Steedman put a lot of effort toward masterfully detailing it with classic, Spanish tile patterns.


Throughout Casa del Herrero... you can see authentic Spain in the execution of their design.






Classic Spanish tile installed at a tapas bar in the historic district of Seville, Spain






I took this photo in a quaint Tapas Bar in the historic district in Seville, Spain.


Note the classic chair rail tile pattern.








A cut stone front door surround at Casa del Herrero in Montecito, California.  Logo of George F. Steedman iron worker carved in stone above Spanish wood door with antique clavos and iron door knocker.





The Front Entry Door at Casa del Herrero was one of the first photos I took on my first tour there.


George Washington Smith and George F. Steedman composed this beautiful, traditional and classic iron balcony above the front door.


They also installed an authentic Spanish door with iron clavos details and door knocker. Perhaps they purchased an antique door while on a trip to Spain.


I like the use of carved stone as an important design statement for the door surround.






A historic pair of wood plank Spanish doors with iron work details and stamped metal lower panel.  Photo taken in Seville, Spain.



Here, a pair of wood doors with decorative iron clavos and a door knocker that is very eye catching.


I came across this attractive pair of doors in the narrow streets of Seville, Spain.



I thought the pounded sheet metal at the bottom was both decorative and ingenious way for protecting it from the bumps and common dents that inevitably happen while living on a busy alleyway in this vibrant, historic city.








A carved stone family crest installed in a plaster wall above an iron door in Seville, Spain


I found these narrow streets of Seville, Spain to be riddled with unique architectural embellishments that I could study for hours and days at a time.


It makes sense in a sea of historic buildings that the building owners would hire Artisans to create "Signature" markings to their properties. Here, a carved stone Family Crest.


Also note classic Spanish tile beneath the twisted iron balcony.




A Sevilla Spain logo in a hotel in Seville, Spain


Like-minded Art + Architecture lovers could spend endless hours wandering the streets of historic Spain.

I shot this interesting graphic- An old map, mounted to a wall...

another souvenir photo and fond memory of the treasures I stumbled upon, while exploring cities in Spain.





An ornate wrought iron window grille with scrolling and cross with pots and red geraniums at Casa del Herrero estate in Montecito, California


I captured these other images while touring Casa del Herrero with a client.

LEFT: I like this traditional Spanish technique of combining an iron window grille with a shelf for potted plants.

Casa del Herrero is open to the public and is a quintessential example of an artistically designed Santa Barbara Spanish Revival Style home. 





A Spanish style wood front door with cut stone door surround and iron balcony above it.  Photo taken at Casa del Herrero estate in Montecito, CaliforniaA carved stone frieze frames a doorway into a garden at the Casa del Herrero estate in Montecito,California

A Spanish Revival style driveway entry gate stucco column with Casa del Herrero logo and iron lantern mounted to the top.




the Casa del Herrero mailbox on San Ysidro Road in Montecito, California.  Mailbox designed by architect George Washington SmithA stucco archway with gable Spanish tile roof and garden wall at the Casa del Herrero estate in Montecito CA


The Meridian Studioslogo hand painted on a historic stucco column at the entrance of the Meridian Studios in downtown Santa Barbara, California








Other Influential Spanish Colonial Revival Architects of Santa Barbara


The Santa Barbara Courthouse  and green grass lawns in Santa Barbara, California

Although George Washington Smith is the most well known and celebrated designer architect in Santa Barbara and Montecito history...

Since the 1920s there are other noted California architects + designers that have contributed to Santa Barbara’s unique charm.

These talented architects and Landscape Architects include:

Carlton Winslow

Reginald Johnson

William Mooser III

Bertram Goodhue

Edwards and Plunkett (Arlington Theatre)

Landscape Architect Lockwood de Forest



The steeple at the Arlington_Theater in downtown Santa Barbara, California

About Santa Barbara Architecture:


Spanish Colonial Revival (1915 - 1930s California) is considered the most popularly identified "Spanish Style" in the Santa Barbara Downtown

El Pueblo Viejo Landmark District is a beautiful concentration of architecturally significant and important Santa Barbara buildings-

The City of Santa Barbara Charter for Designing Downtown architecture also puts an emphasis on Monterey Revival and California Adobe as other desirable Spanish Styles of Architecture for El Pueblo Viejo (the Old Town).



the red tile roof and tower at the Santa Barbara courthouse in Santa Barbara, California


LEFT: Classic red tile roof and white plaster on the Santa Barbara's Courthouse.

It is a favorite shot I captured many years ago.







a quality wrought iron and wood sign for the Streets in Spain El Paseo in the historic downtown of Santa Barbara California




A familiar side entrance and narrow alley way in the historic downtown district of El Pueblo Viejo in Santa Barbara, California



The "organicness" of hand troweled plaster, cobble stone walkways, hand wrought iron details and 2 piece mission red tile roofs add to the authenticity of bringing Spain to our little seaside hamlet.







The tower with tiled egg at La Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain



Even Santa Barbara's newest, most whimsical architecture might have faint traces of Spain's architectural DNA...

perhaps a magical moment during a stroll through the streets of Spain.


We know for sure, that for well over 100 years local Santa Barbara Architects, Designers and their clients have been visiting Spain for our inspiration.




LEFT: I shot this image at La Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona. It was once a famous bull ring in Barcelona.

The 100+ year old structure is a fixture in historic Barcelona Spain.







The clock at the arena of La Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain



The artistically designed and built Arena has quite a colorful past... and some amazing details.


I bought a ticket to wandered the empty grounds (now a museum). I imagined the roar of the crowds echoing through the perfectly round structure.


I wondered what it would have been like to experience a real life bull fight there- the Gladiator aspect of it all...






The front entrance to the Adamson House, located in Malibu California


Other influential Architects and Designers:

I have always admired Wallace Neff's(Libbey Ranch)

and Stiles O. Clements (Adamson House)

LEFT: Adamson House

as major influencers on my creative outlook,

and design style for carrying on the tradition of Hand Drawn, Concept Renderings

They had the mindset of an artist creating a work of art, when designing their homes.



a cut stone logo for the San Marcos Court building in downtown Santa Barbara, California.







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Jeff Doubet